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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Get All Brainwashed With GCC Member Elana Johnson

To think for yourself or not think for yourself, that is the question in GCC Member Elana Johnson’s new novel, POSSESSION out this month through Simon Pulse. Because really, who needs to pick their own husband anyway?

As always, here’s a little bit about her book to get you hooked:

Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they’re set on convincing Vi to become one of them….starting by brainwashed Zenn. Vi can’t leave Zenn in the Thinkers’ hands, but she’s wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous: everything Zenn’s not. Vi can’t quite trust Jag and can’t quite resist him, but she also can’t give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

Here’s what Elana had to say:

Q: In AMIGAS AND SCHOOL SCANDALS, Mariana takes a road trip to Cornell. What’s your funniest road trip story?

Elana: Well, I don’t know about funny ha-ha, but we took a road trip one Christmas from Utah—which gets a lot of snow in December—to Arizona, that doesn’t. Our car started making a funny sound, and it turned out that we had to replace all our tires in Kingston, Arizona.

Not fun. But we did it. About six weeks later, while I drove to school in 8 inches of snow, I slid right off the road. Turns out that Kingston doesn’t sell snow tires, so I had to replace them again!

So not funny ha-ha, but funny nonetheless.

Q: I often talk about how I didn’t always “know” I wanted to be a writer. Did you? Or did you have other plans when you were little?

Elana: Absolutely not! I actually took the AP English test as a junior in high school so I could skip English as a senior. I majored in Chemistry Education. I switched to Elementary Education with a Math minor, and that’s actually what I earned. So no creative stuff in sight.

I wanted to be a teacher when I was a child—and I am!

Q: Throughout the AMOR series, Mariana and her friends celebrate their Sweet 16s (and 15s). What did you do for your Sweet 16 or Quinceañera?

Elana: Nothing. We didn’t really celebrate things like this. Lame, I know.

Q: I wrote the AMOR series organically, no outlines. My new manuscripts, I’ve outlined extensively. How about you? Are you an outliner?

Elana: I’m a complete discovery writer. I don’t like to outline; it steals all the fun from writing. There’s nothing better than drafting with nothing but a wing and a prayer.

Q: Where were you when you found out that Endless Summer was going to be published? Tell us the story.

Elana: I was at home, and I got the email and just about died. Ten minutes later, my agent called. It was a bit premature; we just had interest, but it was serious interest and we had a date the editor was taking the MS to acquisitions. It was our first response, and it was an almost-yes!

I was thrilled when it became a real yes—and I hadn’t been rejected by any other editors yet! (Of course, I’d been rejected by hundreds of literary agents, so I’ve been told no plenty of times.)

With the real yes phone call, I was on the phone when my husband got home from work. So I scrawled on a post-it note “Simon Pulse bought my book!” and held it up for him to see. He whisper-screamed. It was awesome.

Thank you, Elana! Now, everyone go out and buy books, lots and lots of books!

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